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It might not feel like it, but technically we’re still in a seller’s market. For hopeful buyers, this can feel like an uphill battle.

Higher interest rates, intense competition, and inflated home prices can make homeownership seem impossible, especially for first-time buyers.

We’re here to tell you it’s NOT impossible!

The Pendergraft Team has a few secret weapons to give buyers the high ground. Here are five pieces of advice we share with new and repeat buyers to help them navigate the current market.

Secret #1: Pre-Approval

One of the first steps in the home-buying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Not only does this assist your lender with determining your loan amount, but this letter demonstrates to sellers that you are serious as a buyer. This will strengthen your future negotiating position and help you stand out from a crowd of looky-loos.

Secret #2: Affordability Calculator

Before you start shopping for homes, use affordability calculators to determine how much house you can truly afford. These tools take many things into account—such as your income, expenses, and current debt—to calculate a realistic price range for your budget. By understanding your financial limits upfront, you can avoid falling in love with homes that are beyond your means.

Pro Tip: These calculators can be found across nearly every mortgage website, but make sure to speak with a lender for a recommendation on the most accurate software.

Secret #3: Inspections

Once you put in an offer and go under contract, make sure to hire a professional to inspect your home. Not only will you have a trained eye to thoroughly evaluate the condition of the property, but you can negotiate to have the sellers fix certain problems or repairs.

No one likes surprises when you first move into a home. That’s why it’s crucial to have an inspector review your home’s structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and more. Inspections can reveal potential issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye, helping you avoid costly surprises down the road.

Secret #4: Stop Trying to Time the Market

Trying to wait out those mortgage rates? Let’s be honest—timing the real estate market is nearly impossible. Instead of trying to predict fluctuations in housing prices, focus on finding a home that meets your needs and offers long-term value. Consider factors such as location, amenities, and resale potential, rather than trying to speculate on short-term market trends.

Pro Tip: By prioritizing value over timing, you can make a more rational and sustainable investment in your future home.

Secret #5: Work With a Buyer’s Agent

Your final secret weapon? Working with a buyer’s agent. Don’t let the media or NAR settlement lead you astray. An experienced realtor can offer invaluable expertise—from navigating complex contracts to negotiating the best possible deal on your behalf.

There are over 200 steps in the average transaction and 91% of buyers say they would feel stressed navigating the homebuying process without an agent.

Do you want to deal with each of those steps with no professional representation? We didn’t think so! A buyer’s agent has insider knowledge of the local market and can help you find properties that match your criteria.

They will negotiate on your behalf and shield you from the back-and-forward communication with the seller’s agent. They will also point out any potential red flags with a property to ensure you don’t end up in a home that needs extensive, costly repairs.

Bottom line: Working with a buyer’s agent will save you a lot of gray hairs. The Pendergraft Team is here to streamline the home-buying process by helping you save time, stress, and potentially lots of money.

Happy house hunting!

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